Since I’m still travelling for work – and will be so for another week – I decided a shorter post would be easier this week. And what better topic to write about than something that is one of the most basic additions to sex, and something that has become a symbol of safe sex the world over. Obviously, I’m talking about the condom.
This very simple barrier contraceptive has been around for many years. It works by creating a barrier between a man’s penis and his partner’s mouth, vagina or anus. Although I will not bore you with the history of the condom, I will say that thankfully technology has advanced enough so that we are no longer using the original condom (animal intestine or treated linen) anymore, and have a plethora of options including ribbed, studded, non-latex, flavoured and so on. The condom is designed to prevent both pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) – especially HIV transmission. It is the only contraceptive method that prevents against STIs, other than abstaining from sex, which has actually been shown to lead to higher rates of unwanted pregnancy! It is generally made from latex, but there are polyurethane condoms available for those who are allergic to latex. You can get both male condoms (which most people are familiar with) and female condoms (which are harder to find and less popular). The condom is the number one contraceptive method in the world. Reasons why there might be a breakage, it slips off, unwanted pregnancy or STI transmission occurs include incorrect application, oil-based lubricant, incorrect size etc.
How to put it on
Follow these steps so as to avoid any problems when using a condom. Only put the condom on once you have an erection otherwise it’s going to be a challenge, and you should never use a condom more than once. Before you roll it over your penis, check that it is the right way, with the rolled up ring on the outside. Never use your teeth or scissors to open it as you might cause it to tear – it’s got a serrated edge for a reason.
Men produce what is called pre-cum in the initial stages of arousal. This pre-cum contains semen and can put you at risk of unwanted pregnancy or an STI. Therefore, get the condom on before you have penetrative sex! Once you have ejaculated, hold the base of the condom and slowly pull it off your penis. Tie a knot in the end and dispose of it in a rubbish can – not the toilet as it can block the drains. Always check the ‘use by date’ on the condom as they do expire, and store them someone out of direct sunlight (wallets or top draws are a great place to keep them).
People often complain that a condom can feel dry. Most condoms are pre-lubricated, but if you feel you need a bit more slide and glide, using a water- or silicone-based lubricant is a great idea! These can also be purchased at most places where you can buy condoms. Never use an oil-based lubricant (such as Vaseline etc.) as this causes micro-tears in the condoms and can lead to infections. It is safe for a man to use Vaseline or an oil-based lubricant when he masturbates, but when you are engaging in penetrative sex, always use water- or silicone-based. Not only will the oil cause tears in condoms, but if you’re not using condoms it could also cause vaginal infections. Durex makes great water-based lubricant and a great silicone-based lubricant that I would recommend is Pjur.
Condoms are readily available – at local chemists/ pharmacies, petrol stations, supermarkets, adult stores etc. Not having one available is not an excuse in this day and age. STIs are catchier than you think, and just because someone looks like they don’t have one might not mean that they do. Want to know more about STIs? Read my post here. Ultimately you have to be responsible for your own sexual health – that means both him and her should carry a condom. Never rely on someone else to have one for you. I know what most of you are thinking – that condoms numb the sensation, you say you struggle to feel much with them on etc. Sure, it’s a valid and common complaint from both men and women, but think about it… Is it really worth getting an STI for (many of which stick with you, like a child would, for life)?
Watch this great French condom advert… it’s always been one of my favourites!